Thursday, October 20, 2016

savory-sweet roasted rosemary figs

My sons and I are working on a cookbook together, and as we were researching recipes to include, I came across this rosemary fig delight that I'd been wanting to make for ages (not necessarily to include in our cookbook, but just for fun and taste-bud happiness).

Well, I didn't have any figs, and I hadn't seen any in the stores lately so I assumed they had already gone out of season. I was bummed.

But LO AND BEHOLD, one of my neighbors pops round this afternoon with a box of four lovely local figs that her friend had given her. Yippee!

I don't know if you believe in God, but I've been having a rough week, and I knew these figs were a sweet present from him, a little box of "I love you" to me.

So I made the rosemary figs. They'd work great next to a meat dish, for sure, but my younger son, who is into all things Italian at the moment, made Italian-style meat-stuffed peppers with me for dinner, so I put these together for a mini dessert.

This recipe is from the book Practical Paleo.

You'll need:

  • figs, quartered and with the stems lopped off
  • fresh rosemary, minced 
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
Do this:

Preheat your trusty oven to 425 F or 220 C. 

Gather a roasting pan, put your quartered figs on, and sprinkle with the rosemary. Roast for about 10-15 minutes until the edges are a bit browned, then drizzle on a little olive oil and sprinkle a little sea salt.

These are a fantastic treat: warm, sweet, salty, soft, crispy. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

fried-tofu pizza crust

One of my neighbors has a thyroid specialist who gave her a recipe using fried tofu instead of a wheat crust for pizza. I didn't ask for the specific recipe, but I decided to run with it.

We have a tofu delivery lady who drives through our neighborhood every Friday evening, and I mentioned this idea to her. I told her that I don't eat dairy, but I wondered what she thought about using the tofu "cheese" that I sometimes buy from her. She was skeptical, but I told her I would try it anyway and let her know how it went.

So I purchased fried tofu and the tofu "cheese" from her, and made the unorthodox pizza for lunch today. You can see my husband's pizza on the left with dairy cheese, and the tofu version in the top photo and on the right in the photo below. It didn't melt, but it tasted spectacular. All four of us agreed that the tofu "cheese" version was the best. 
You'll need:

  • fried tofu
  • pizza toppings of choice (I used Canadian bacon, sliced boiled eggs, cheese (dairy or tofu), black pepper, parsley, and a squiggle of ketchup)
Do this:

Grab some olive oil and heat it up in a frying pan. Cook the fried tofu till crispy on one side, then flip. Add your toppings till heated and if you're using dairy cheese, it's melted. 

Plate it up and eat with a knife and fork. Then tell your tofu delivery lady that her skepticism was unwarranted, and show her the photos to prove it. Don't forget to thank her for her delicious tofu in all its various forms. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

refreshing grapefruit-mint jelly/jello/zeri

Depending on where you are from, you might call this jello, jelly, or zeri! Whatever you label it, the stuff was darn delicious.

I had a couple pink grapefruit that needed to be eaten, and lots of mint still from when one of the Beans picked a bag full at some friends' home, and I thought of jello.

I based my version on this recipe from Homespun Seasonal Living (and she in turn originally got it from The Joy of Cooking), but of course, as usual, I Mamatouille-ified it.

I did it my way! (Cue Sinatra soundtrack.)

You'll need:
  • two pink grapefruit, segments and juice
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 3 massive mint leaves
  • 1 T. gelatin powder
  • cold water
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 jelly/jam jars
Do this:

Segment the grapefruit over a bowl to catch the juice, and save that gorgeous nectar for a bit later in the recipe (I collected 1/2 cup after segmenting and then squeezing the innards).

Divide the grapefruit segments among four small jars.

In a small separate bowl, stir and dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 c. cold water and leave to set.

Simmer 1/2 cup water, honey, and mint leaves till honey is dissolved, then turn off the heat. Remove your mint, then stir in the gelatin mixture until it dissolves. Allow it to come down to room temperature, add the grapefruit juice and pinch of salt, then divide equally among the four jars, pouring it over the grapefruit segments. Fridge it till it sets (at least a few hours).

Serve and enjoy, deeply relaxing in the sweet minty-citrus love. Especially good for a hot, muggy, rainy-season day like today.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

tag-team rhubarb crumble

A rare gift: rhubarb! I've never seen it for sale in our prefecture, but our friends gave us some that their mother sent from Nagano. Loveliness.

Joel and I went to work in the kitchen. First, the rhubarb filling for a crumble.

You'll need:
  • 5 stalks rhubarb
  • honey, to taste
  • cinnamon (or not, as you prefer)
  • freshly grated ginger
Do this:

Simmer it in a pot till soft and thickened, then spread in the bottom of individual ramekins or one bigger oven-proof pan.

And here's Joel's own recipe for the crumble topping.

You'll need:
  • 1/2 C. roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 C. walnuts
  • 1/4 C. chia seeds
  • 2 T. coconut oil, melted
Do this:

In a food processor, pulse the cashews and walnuts till powdery, then process in the chia seeds and coconut oil.

Use your fingers to drop it on to the top of the rhubarb filling, then bake at 350 F/170 C for about 20 minutes or so. Enjoy the unique flavors and textures.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

cabbage-moringa-berry smoothie

Our with-lunch smoothie the other day:
  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • 2 navel oranges
  • chopped Napa cabbage (hakusai in Japanese)
  • several teaspoons moringa powder
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • handful of mint leaves picked by a Bean at his friends' house
  • frozen mixed unsweetened berries
Blend. Drink. (Serves 4.)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

moringa smoothie

Moringa leaves are absolutely amazing (look it up) and have been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine. I've been putting the raw organic powder form in our smoothies for a few days now. It's definitely an unusual taste, sort of herbal and spicy, but I'm starting to really like it.

Here was today's conjured concoction: 2 avocados, 1 banana, 1 carrot, 1 lemon, 1/8 cabbage, 4 heaping teaspoons moringa powder, 1 cup frozen mixed unsweetened berries, water.

Blend. Enjoy. Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

(*not* paleo) berry-orange trifle

When my Japanese class + Sensei came over recently for a party at our house, I knew I wanted to make trifle. It's just not a thing in Japan, and I wanted to share a bit of (half of) my culture.

When Stephen had a birthday party in Seattle in 2011, I made a rhubarb trifle (rhubarb was exceptionally easy to come by in the Pacific Northwest--how I miss it, the PNW and the rhubarb).

I basically just concocted this berry-orange trifle from what I had on hand (I did have to buy the Castella cake and the cream because I don't keep wheat or dairy products in the house). It worked beautifully, and Stephen is staring over my shoulder at the photos right now asking me to make it again soon.

Per British specifications for trifle, you really should use some sort of gelatin, but I left it out here.

You'll need:
  • Castella (Portuguese cake introduced to Japan in the 16th century, and now very popular here) or pound cake
  • 2 navel oranges, zest and juice
  • Orange marmalade
  • 4 cups frozen mixed unsweetened berries
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons orange curacao
  • heavy cream for whipping
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar
  • chopped candied orange peel
Do this:

Heat your chopped candied orange peel in the curacao and let it set and plump up. This will be your final decoration on top of the trifle.

Make little marmalade sandwiches with the cake slices, and poke holes with a skewer in each one. Set aside.

Concoct a berry sauce on the stovetop with the frozen berries, maple syrup, orange peel, orange juice, and a splash (or several) of more orange curacao. Let cool off a little.

Whip your cream with the vanilla and powdered sugar, to taste.

Layer some of the cake sandwiches in the bottom of a big clear glass bowl, pour over some of the sauce, then spread some of the cream. Continue layering until you have filled up your bowl and ended up with cream on top. Sprinkle with the schnockered candied orange peel and refrigerate for a good long while.

Enjoy with some Brazilian and Japanese friends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

steamed eggs

In our survey, 7 out of 8 eggs preferred steaming to boiling for the perfect peel.

Do you know how hard it is to peel farm-fresh boiled eggs? Nigh near impossible. They break up into millions of pieces, and I end up having to make egg salad.

No more! I recently heard of an eggs-cellent alternative to boiling: steaming. Just plop your eggs in a steamer basket with enough water in the pot to boil for twenty minutes.

And voila! Seven out of my eight eggs peeled beautifully. Little white orbs of loveliness.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

(almost) paleo sweet-potato hash

With the crazy-deep-orange-red yolks in the eggs I buy from a local farm, I just can't get enough of them. Thank goodness science has disproved the whole egg-cholesterol thing!

I saw this recipe yesterday and had to try it, pronto. Of course I changed it quite a bit (just can't help meself). The original recipe said it was a breakfast hash, but who has time to do this much prep and then bake something in the morning? I did a lot of the prep last night, got it all together (except for the eggs), and let it dream in the fridge overnight. And we had it for dinner tonight. I pulled it out of the fridge when we got home this evening from a superb afternoon at the park, put it in a 350 F/170 C oven for about 20 minutes to reheat, and then put the eggs in for another 20 minutes. If you like really runny eggs, cook them for about 15 or so.

Here's how it went down.

You'll need:
  • 1 sweet potato, scrubbed, dried, and chopped (leave the skins on)
  • 1/2 kabocha (Japanese green-skinned, orange-fleshed pumpkin), chopped (leave the peel on)
  • sea salt 
  • olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 5 or so pieces of bacon, diced
  • 10 or so mini sausages, sliced 
  • more olive oil
  • dried parsley
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • dried onion flakes
  • leftover British Heinz baked beans from the Nonoichi Costco, if you have them on hand (this is where this dish deviates from Paleo--and I did add the beans, and then had to have a digestive enzyme after the meal--beans do not like my GI system one bit) 
  • as many eggs as you like
  • toppings: chopped fresh parsley and (not shown, because we did this individually on our own plates) sliced green onions
  • Tabasco sauce for serving (I had none and wished I did--this was great without it, but I had a craving for it for some reason)
Do this:

Roast your sweet potato and kabocha with sea salt and olive oil till tender.

In an oven-proof pan, saute the red pepper, bacon, and sausages in olive oil till a bit browned, then add dried parsley (or fresh), garlic powder, salt and pepper, and onion flakes (and baked beans, if using).

In the saute pan, stir in the roasted sweet potato and kabocha. You can either go ahead and make some indentations to add the raw eggs and then bake this for 15-20 minutes at 350 F/170 C, or you can leave off the eggs for now and put this as-is in the fridge to use later.

If you've put it in the fridge, pull it out when you're ready and bake for 20 minutes, then add the eggs for 20 more, if you like. When I made the indentations to add our 6 eggs, I broke one egg at a time into a small bowl before dumping in to make sure there were no shell fragments.

There was just something about this that made the eggs so, so extra creamy, almost like cheese. It was a delightful meal.

(I use all-natural bacon and sausages: no artificial colors or flavors and no nasty chemical preservatives.)

Monday, March 21, 2016

paleo breakfasts

If you try to eat sort of Paleo-ish, here are a few of my recent breakie ideas:

1. Fried (in grapeseed oil) farm-fresh deep-orange-yolked eggs, sprinkled with salt and pepper and smothered in lettuce, green onions, and kimchi. Oh my! The lusciousness.
2. Leftover curried egg salad wrapped in natural ham (no dyes, no preservatives, no junk) and served with edamame. Superb.
3. Pumpkin muffins (recipe in Practical Paleo) made with coconut-flour, coconut oil, warm spices, and cranberries. All-natural uncured Canadian bacon (no preservatives, no junk, bought from Costco), tea with almond milk, and some warm water with gelatin dissolved in it (I drink this every morning for my joints).
What do you eat for breakfast? Any new ideas for me?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

coconut-flour pumpkin pancakes

I haven't made these pancakes in ages, and I got a hankering for them this past weekend.

The recipe is based off the pumpkin pancake recipe in Practical Paleo (by Diane Sanfilippo), but I (of course) change it to my liking and to what I have on hand. She doesn't call for any flour, but I like to add 1/4 cup of coconut flour to a double batch of these pancakes. I find they stick together better and are fluffier.

You'll need (for a double batch to feed four people):
  •  8 eggs
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (I used homemade from kabocha that I had frozen in 1/2-cup bags)
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 T. melted coconut oil
  • 4 T. maple syrup or honey (optional)
  • 2 t. pumpkin pie spice (I use a mixture of mostly cinnamon with some nutmeg and ground ginger thrown in)
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
Do this:

Whisk eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, oil, and syrup in a bowl, then sift in the spices, baking soda, and coconut flour. Oil your skilled with more coconut oil and cook as you would normal pancakes, flipping when the edges are firm.

And to serve? Oh MY! We tried a little regular maple syrup for some, and as an alternative, our local Yamato Soy Sauce Company's soy-sauce ice-cream topping. Amazing. It's very caramel-y, with dark sweet and salty depths. 

But why is that table empty except for Mama's portion? Well, if you make pancakes, be prepared to eat at the stove as you go and/or eat later by yourself after serving everyone else along the way. No problem, though, because these were worth it. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

dairy-free chocolate-banana-peanut-butter smoothie

You'll need:
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 3 heaping teaspoons fair-trade dark cocoa powder (no sugar)
  • 200 ml milk (I used half soy and half almond)
  • a few ice cubes
  • 4 T. peanut butter (I made it with organic salted peanuts and a little walnut oil)
Do this:

Blend on a smoothie setting and distribute among four small eager glasses.


It's so yum I wrote a haiku about it:

Smoothie mine: you're yum
So lovely I want more now
Thick rich creamy love

lotus-root (renkon) and kabocha (pumpkin) curry

We had some leftover chicken curry and I wanted some veggies to go with it. The renkon (lotus root) and kabocha (Japanese green-skinned pumpkin) were staring at me from the produce drawer, expectant and wanting to be friends.

I found my inspiration from this Sri Lankan curry, but changed it drastically to use what I had on hand.

You'll need:
  • 2 pieces of lotus root (washed, peeled, sliced, and soaked in cool water for ten minutes, then drained), or I might suggest you could used cubed potatoes instead if you don't have access to lotus root
  • 1/4 kabocha, washed and chopped (skin left on), or regular pumpkin or squash
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 2 t. dried onion flakes (or chopped fresh onion)
  • 1 1/2 t. dried garlic flakes (or freshly minced garlic)
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 2 t. curry powder
  • a little coconut oil
Do this:

Saute your renkon (or potatoes) and kabocha in some coconut oil for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir till combined. Let simmer for a little while until the kabocha is soft. The renkon will stay pretty crunchy.

And that's the beauty of this curry: crunchy and soft, sweet and spicy.

Serve with rice and some leftover chicken curry.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

paleo breakie sans eggs

I get the loveliest farm-fresh eggs from a local source here in Kanazawa, with deep orange yolks from happy hens.

But when you run out, and you try to focus on eating Paleo for feeling your best, what do you do about breakie?

This morning: natural ham slices (no preservatives or colors or yucky stuff), apple wedges with homemade almond butter, and "cereal" (chopped raw almonds, cashews, pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, and hemp hearts) to which I added almond milk after I took the photo.

Plus tea and almond milk.

It was delicious, and even though it's 12:30 and lunchtime, I'm not ravenous.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

gluten-free chocolate-dipped gingersnaps

Happy Love Day! One of the ways we celebrated was baking together. It was a real labor of love, actually, because I had to start by making my own almond flour the day before. I blitzed some raw almonds in my blender (with skins) till powdery, though there were a few almondy chunks left here and there. I didn't worry about those, because I knew this recipe would involve a food processor today and everything would be sorted out with another blast.
Honestly, I think gingersnaps are my favorite of all cookies. There's something about a spicy crisp bite with a cuppa to help make the world seem a little bit more beautiful.

And aren't these fellas handsome? I'm so loved by and in love with the three special blokes in my life.
I based this recipe on Against All Grain's gingersnaps here. (And not all the cookies came out this heart-y. Some of them were more on the blobby side after cooking and spreading out.)
You'll need:
  • 1/4 C. honey
  • 2 T. Okinawan black sugar (or sugar of your choice)
  • 2 T. butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 C. almond flour
  • 1/8 C. katakuriko (potato starch) or 1/4 C. arrowroot powder
  • 1 T. coconut flour
  • 2 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
Do this:

Preheat your oven to 350 F /170 C. To make a caramel-y/molasses-y syrup, you heat up your honey till bubbly on the stove, then a few minutes later whisk in the sugar, butter, and vanilla. It'll be on the brown side. Turn it off and set aside for a minute.

Put all the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and whiz for a minute or so. Add in the liquid from your pan and blitz again till it gels together. Take it out, plop it into a bowl and form into one giant sticky ball with your hands.

Slap it between two pieces of parchment paper, roll it out (not too thinly), and cut into desired shapes. Continue till you've used up all your gingery dough, and bake the cookies on parchment paper for about 6-7 minutes.

Cool 'em off on a wire rack. If you want to add a little pizazz, grab one of your Valentine 72% bitter chocolate bars, melt, and dip. Slide into the fridge for some chill-out time, and your cookies will be even crispier.

Chocolate and ginger. LOVEly together.